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Lake 2002 was organized from 9th to 13th December 2002 at Satish Dhawan Auditorium, Indian Institute of Science campus. The main objective of the symposium was to bring out the current trends in aquatic ecosystem conservation, restoration and management including the hydrological and the biophysical aspects, peoples’ participation and the role of non-governmental, educational and governmental organisations and future research needs for the restoration, conservation and management. This also provided a forum for researchers, technologists, economists, sociologists and others to discuss water related issues, including:

The major types of aquatic ecosystem and the type and diversity of organisms characteristic of and important to each other.

The main physical and biological processes that are important in several major types of aquatic ecosystems, and their consequences for community structure and function; and

Problems of management and conservation in aquatic ecosystems.
 

Lake 2002 was a platform for all stakeholders especially Researchers, Scientists, Government Agencies, Teachers, Students, Planners and Decision Makers who interacted and shared their experience and knowledge on aquatic ecosystems. We firmly believe the recommendations by this august body will lay a strong foundation for watershed conservation and restoration efforts in the days to come. Lake 2002 was successful in collecting the recent trends in conservation and restoration of lentic and lotic water system, including peoples’ participation and the role of NGO’s, educational and government organizations.  Based on the presentations and discussions at the symposium, the following recommendations are proposed and adopted by the august body:   

  1. Water is `life’ and it is to be `conserved’. A clean aquatic ecosystem with a healthy biological community is an indicator of the condition of the terrestrial habitats in the watershed.

  2. Aquatic ecosystem conservation and management requires collaborated research involving natural, social, and inter-disciplinary study aimed at understanding various components, such as monitoring of water quality, socio-economic dependency, biodiversity and other activities, as an indispensable tool for formulating long term conservation strategies. This requires multidisciplinary-trained professionals who can spread the understanding of ecosystem’s importance at local schools, colleges, and research institutions by initiating educational programmes aimed at rising the levels of public awareness of aquatic ecosystems’ restoration, goals and methods. Actively participating schools and colleges in the vicinity of the water bodies may value the opportunity to provide hands-on environmental education, which could entail setting up of laboratory facilities at the site. Regular monitoring of water bodies (with permanent laboratory facilities) would provide vital inputs for conservation and management.

  3. Government Agencies, Academics, Institutions and NGO’s must co-ordinate grass-root level implementation of policies and activities related to conservation of wetlands (both Inland and Coastal), their sustainable utilization, restoration and development including human health. There is also need for management and conservation of aquatic biota including their health aspects. Traditional knowledge and practices have to be explored as remedial measures. Cost-intensive restoration measures should be the last resort after evaluating all the cost-effective measures of conservation and management of the wetlands.

  4. National water policy shall recognize the ecological, environmental, economic and socio-cultural values of the aquatic systems.

  5. To be cost effective, lake quality classification using appropriate parameters and values assigned on the best designated use of lake or lake system shall be prescribed as a policy guideline.

  6. Line Agencies at the National level, like UGC, DST, DBT, MOEF, ICAR, CSIR, etc.; and at the State level, like Education, Science and Technology, Forest, Agriculture, Irrigation, etc.; be suggested to integrate their activities among themselves seeking assistance from the educational institutions and NGO’s.

  7. A National Committee be constituted consisting of Experts, Representatives of Stakeholders (researchers, students, industrialists, agriculturists, fishermen, etc.) and Line Agencies, in addition to the existing Committee(s), if any, in order to evolve policies and strategies for reclamation, development, sustainable utilization and restoration of the wetlands and socio-economic development of the local people.

  8. At local level, Lake Management Authority (LMA) having stakeholders-representatives from central and state and local body authorities, NGO’s and eminent people and experts shall be constituted with autonomy corpus funds from plan allocations of state and center and responsibility and accountability for avoiding excessive cost and time over runs.

  9. Generous funds shall be made available for such developmental works through the National Committee, as mentioned above. Local stakeholders be suggested to generate modest funds for immediate developmental needs in the aquatic systems in their localities.

  10. Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) be the Nodal Agency for capacity building at all levels: Formal and Non-formal and Govt. officials. Students should be involved in participatory management of the wetlands. Due impetus be given on equipping the institutions with qualified environmental specialists. Teachers of the local institutions shall be trained for in-turn capacity building in their own areas, in which, aquatic ecosystems especially wetlands could serve as `field laboratories’.  

  11. It was felt among the participants that public needs to be better informed about the rational, goal and methods of aquatic ecosystem conservation and restoration. In addition, the need was realized for scientist and researchers with the broad training needed for aquatic ecosystem restoration, management and conservation. In this regard Lake 2002 proposes:

Public education and outreach should be components of aquatic ecosystem restoration. Lake associations and citizen monitoring groups have proved helpful in educating the general public. Effort should be made to ensure that such groups have accurate information about the causes of lake degradation and various restoration methods.
  

Funding is needed for both undergraduate and graduate programmes in aquatic ecosystem conservation and restorations. Training programmes should cross traditional disciplinary boundaries such as those between basic and applied ecology: water quality management and fisheries or wildlife management: among lakes, streams, rivers, coastal and wetland ecology. This could be achieved through capacity building exercises and in this regard Lake 2002 suggests

Organising two weeks training course on “Integrated watershed management with emphasis on conservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems”. Organising an International symposium (sequel to Lake 2002) and a national seminar to prioritise research needs for the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems.

 

  1. Promote documentation of aquatic biodiversity and ensure the implementation of the recommendation towards protection of wetlands through network of schools, colleges and locals.  

  1. Provisions be made for adoption of wetlands by the NGO’s and Self-help groups for their conservation, management, sustainable utilization and restoration.

  1. Aquatic ecosystems restoration works taken up by any agency Govt. or NGO’s should have 10% of restoration costs (per annum) spent or set off for awareness building, research and monitoring compulsorily in future.

  1. Aquatic sanctuaries be created and tanks of religious places be declared as heritage centers for in situ conservation.

  1. Appropriate technologies for point and non-point sources of pollution and in situ measures for lakes restoration shall be compatible to local ethos and site condition as well as objectives of Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Action Plan (AERAP).

  1. Conservation and management of the `rain water’ and `ground water’ including maintenance of water table elevation is recommended for integrated development. Appropriate technology including encouragement of `aeration process’ be evolved and implemented for efficient effluent treatment.

  1. There is an urgent need for creating a `Data Bank’ through inventorisation and mapping of the aquatic biota.  This task be networked through Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) in collaboration with the sister organisations.

  1. All kinds of introduction of Exotic species and Quarantine measures be done in consultation with the concerned Authorities and the data bank

  1. Continuous integrated monitoring of the Ecosystem health of the Aquatic domains and their biota to be made by the Working Groups.  There should be strict enforcement of the existing laws not to use the wetlands as `dumping grounds’ of wastes, or for land-filling.  Developmental activities be not taken-up at the cost of the wetlands including their original open areas.

  1. It is suggested that, ecologically sound approach be practiced in reservoir / dam construction, keeping in view, the consequences to be faced by the rivers, wetlands, coastal areas, migrating aquatic biota and the beneficiaries.

  1. Beneficiary participation from planning to operational stage be ensured including financial contribution.

  1. Ecosystem approach in aquatic ecosystem restoration endeavour considering catchment land use plan as of pre-project status and optimal land use plan shall first be prepared for short term (10 years and 30 years) and long term periods keeping in view developmental pressure over time span.

  1. Soil conservation measures based on designated and actual land use plans, compatible to climate, topography, soil type and hydro-geology of the catchment and impact of siltation on productivity of land and lake values. 

  1. Appropriate cropping pattern, water harvesting, urban development, water usage, and waste generation data shall be utilized and projected for design period for arriving at preventive, curative and maintenance of Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Action Plan (AERAP).

  1. Ecological values of lands and water within the catchment / watershed shall be internalised into economic analysis and not taken for granted. Pressure groups shall play as watchdogs in preventing industrial and toxic and persistent pollutants by agencies and polluters.

  1. A mechanism to disseminate information on wetlands, through publications be initiated. Print and electronic media be suggested to give wide coverage of environmental issues pertaining to aquatic ecosystem.  Exposition of plans of maintenance and expansions be made mandatory for all industries.

  1. Legislations be formulated at the earliest for efficient and sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. Sustainable aquatic resources development and management depends mainly on proper planning, implementation, operation and maintenance, which is possible with GIS and remote sensing techniques, complementing and supplementing ground data collection in various facets of different kinds of water resource projects. Provisions should be made for easy access and transfer of accurate information to researchers working in the Aquatic systems including Survey of India maps, GIS software and Remote sensing data.

  1. It is recommended to maintain the sediment regime under which the aquatic ecosystems evolve including maintenance, conservation of spatial and temporal connectivity within and between watersheds.

  1. Intersectoral systems approach is suggested for decision making regarding river basin management and integrated catchments / watersheds development.

  1. It is recommended for greater role and participation of women in management and sustainable utilisation of resources of aquatic ecosystems.

  1.  Based on the concept of polluter pays, a mechanism be evolved to set up efficient effluent treatment plants [ETP], individual or collective, to reduce the pollution load. Polluting industries be levied Environmental Cess, which can be utilised for conservative measures by the competent authorities. A `waste audit’ must be made compulsory for all the industries and other agencies.

  1. A project must be initiated to assess the practicality of using the information available for increasing the oxygen content by aerating raw sewage, which  encourages proliferation of phyto and zoo species (hygienic agents of nature) and the eventual cleanup process. It is necessary to see how these processes can be expedited. The situation in Bangalore offers an ideal opportunity to try out the linear treatment plants along the channels flowing out from the city.

  1. Regularly monitored “Ambient water quality stations” need to be immediately established and run by responsive and responsible group or agencies.

  1. Long-term multidisciplinary team monitoring of at least some representative wetlands from geographically different micro regions be initiated.

  1. As far as possible, eco-friendly and cost effective technologies such as Phyto-remediation, Bio-manipulation and in-lake engineered system could be considered for AERAP, provided land constraints are taken care of.

  1. Energy intensive, high cost mechanized systems for pollution control shall be weighed based on cost effectiveness vis-à-vis viability of operation and maintenance on a sustainable manner.   

  1. In view of the immense importance of mangroves and salt pan estuaries, measures have to be taken for their protection and restoration.

  1.   Qualitative and quantitative survey and regular monitoring of the mangrove resources would help in

  2. Listing of endangered, threatened, at risk, near extinct and extinct species.

  3. Understanding composition, structure (forest inventories) and function of the habitat.

  4. Long term data collections for growth biomass increase and removal of biomass for individual species from localities.

Alterations in the mangrove land use pattern.

Panchayat Raj institutions may be involved in the development of mangrove nurseries and afforestation, protecting the luxuriant mangrove areas from illegal felling, poaching. High densities plantation programme can be developed in the barren coastal wetlands which are under regular inundation for fodder, fuel and wood, creating awareness, etc. The necessary incentives may be provided for such people.

Compensatory mangrove rehabilitations for reclaimed mangrove habitats be made compulsory for the organizations involved.

Disaster management plans for accidental damage to the mangrove ecosystem should be made mandatory for the concerned organizations.

It is necessary to create awareness regarding the importance of mangroves at schools, colleges, post-graduate and other appropriate educational levels. The local people should be educated through various media like booklets, audio, video, documentary films, lectures, exhibitions, posters, postal stamps, stickers etc. of the mangroves.

Mangrove information center could be established at each coastal district. These centers would collect various types of information on mangroves such as area, composition, endangered species, fisheries, land-use pattern, reclamation etc. These centers would also be made responsible for educating and training the locals and creating awareness.

  1. The project reports to be subject to public access and public hearings before approved by competent authority.

  1. The goals for restoration of aquatic ecosystems need to be realistic and should be based on the concept of expected conditions for individual  eco-regions. Further development of project selection and evaluation technology based on  eco-region  definitions  and  description  should be  encouraged and supported by the national and state government agencies.

Research and  development  are  needed in  several  areas of applied limnology, and  this   programme   should   take   an   experimental    approach    which    emphasizes manipulation of whole ecosystems.

Improved techniques for littoral zone and aquatic microphytes  management need to be developed. Research  should  go  beyond the removal of  nuisance  microphytes to address  the  restoration of native  species that are essential for  waterfowl  and  fish habitat.  Basic  research  is  necessary  to   improve   understanding  of  fundamental limnological  processes  in  littoral  zones  and the  interactions  between  littoral and pelagic  zones  of  lakes.

Biomanipulation (foodweb  management) has  great  potential  for low-cost and long-term management of lakes, and  research in this  emerging field must be  stimulated.

Innovative  and  low-cost  approaches  to  contaminant  clean up in  lakes  need to  be developed.

The relations between loadings of  stress-causing  substances  and  responses of lakes need to be  understood  more  precisely.  Research  should  be undertaken to improve predictions of trophic state and nutrient loading relationships.

Improved assessment programmes are needed to determine the severity and extent of damage in lakes and wetlands and a change in status over time.  Innovative basic research is required to improve the science of assessment and monitoring.  There is a great need for cost effective, reliable indicators of ecosystems function,  including those  that  would  reflect  long-term  change and response to stress.   Research on indicators  should  include  traditional  community   and  ecosystem   measurements, paleoecological trend  assessments and remote sensing.  Effective  assessment  and monitoring  programme  would  involve  network  of  local  schools,  colleges  and universities. 

Procedures such as food web manipulation, introduction of phytophagous,  insects and fish lining, and  reintroduction  of  native  species  show  promise  for  effective and  long-lasting results when used alone or in  combination  with other  restoration measures.  Further  research  and  development needs to be  undertaken  on  these aspects.

Paleolimnological  approaches  should be used to infer the past  trophic  history of lakes  and  wetlands  and  to decide  whether  these  systems  should  be  restored. Paleolimnological  approaches could also be used to infer whether a lake has been restored  to  its  predisturbance  condition.

41.    Integrated aquatic ecosystem management needs to be implemented to ensure sustainability, which requires proper study, sound understanding and effective management of water systems and their internal relations (soil, groundwater, surface water and return water; quantity and quality; biotic components; upstream and downstream). The aquatic systems should be managed as part of the broader environment and in relation to socio-economic demands and potentials, acknowledging the political and cultural context. Sustainable management helps in conservation that sustains the ecological and socio-economic functions, which depends on the following aspects:

 Should be applied at catchment level. The catchment is the smallest complete hydrological unit of analysis and management. Integrated catchment management (ICM), therefore, becomes the practical operating approach. Although this approach is obviously sound and finds wide acceptance, too narrow an interpretation should be avoided.

Decentralisation should be pursued as much as possible in order to bring river basin management as close as possible to the individual citizens and facilitate local variation in response to differing local conditions and preferences. Decentralisation is also possible in case of tasks with a supra-local scope if the decentralised governments concerned co-operate (e.g. panchayaths in a river basin) or if they are supervised by a higher-level government body. The process should be transparent, phased and planned.

 It is critical to integrate water and environmental management. This principle is widely and strongly supported. Integrated aquatic ecosystem management can be strengthened through the integration of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA’s), water resources modeling and land use planning. It should also be understood that a catchment or watershed approach implies that water should be managed alongside the management of codependent natural resources, namely soil, forests, air and biota.

 Through a systems approach. A true systems approach recognizes the individual components as well as the linkages between them, and that a disturbance at one point in the system will be translated to other parts of the system. Sometimes the effect on another part of the system may be indirect, and may be damped out due to natural resilience and disturbance. Sometimes the effect will be direct, significant and may increase in degree as it moves through the system. While systems analysis is appropriate, analyses and models that are too complex to be translated into useful knowledge should be avoided.

The only form of river basin management that directly affects the river basin and its users is operational management (the application of regulatory, economic and communicative policy instruments and concrete activities such as infrastructure management). Consequently, it should play a pivotal role in any river basin management strategy. Planning, policies, analytical tools and institutional systems play an essential role as deciders and facilitators. They can improve operational management, promote a basin-wide, intersectoral long-term approach, and in this way further the sustained multi-functional use of the basins concerned.

Full participation by all stakeholders, including workers and the community. This will involve new institutional arrangements. There must be a high level of autonomy, but this must at the same time be associated with transparency and accountability for all decisions. Care should be taken to ensure that those participating in any catchment management structure do indeed represent a designated group or sector of society. It is also important to ensure that representatives provide feedback to the constituencies they represent Integrated Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IAEM) seeks to combine interests, priorities and disciplines as a multi-stakeholder planning and management process for natural resources within the catchment ecosystem, centered on water. Driven bottom-up by local needs and priorities, and top-down by regulatory responsibilities, it must be adaptive, evolving dynamically with changing conditions.

Attention to social dimensions. This requires attention to, amongst other things, the use of social impact assessments, workplace indicators and other tools to ensure that the social dimension of a sustainable water policy is implemented. This will include the promotion of equitable access, enhanced role of women, and the employment and income implications of change.

Capacity building: At many levels in the process – even at the governmental level - stakeholders lack the necessary knowledge and skills for full application of Integrated Aquatic Ecosystem Management. Community stakeholders may not be familiar with the concept of water resource management, catchment management, corporate governance, and their role in these. Capacity building categories include education and raising awareness about water; information resources for policy making; regulations and compliance; basic infrastructure; and market stability. Early and ongoing stakeholder collaboration and communication in capacity building is also important from the view point of “leveling the playing field” in anticipation of disputes that may arise. Filling strategic skills/capacity gaps supports integrated aquatic ecosystem management, facilitates dispute resolution, and builds practical understanding of the scope of sustainable natural resource development challenges and opportunities.

 The capacity of all institutions needs to be maintained and/or developed by means of short-term and long-term programmes (including postgraduate education and curricula development).

Availability of information and the capacity to use it to make policy and predict responses. This implies, firstly, sufficient information on hydrological, bio-physical, economic, social and environmental characteristics of a catchment to allow informed policy choices to be made; and secondly, some ability to predict the most important responses of the catchment system to factors such as effluent discharges, diffuse pollution, changes in agricultural or other land use practices and the building of water retaining structures. The latter hinges on the adequacy of scientific models. It is recognized that predicting ecosystem response to perturbation with reasonable confidence stimulates current scientific capabilities and hence ongoing research.

 Full-cost pricing complemented by targeted subsidies. This is essential as users do not value water provided free or almost free and have no incentives to conserve water. Wide support for this principle was engendered, but also significant opposition from those who felt that the interests of the poor might not be sufficiently protected, even under an associated subsidy system, however well designed. Opposing views held that full-cost pricing, when applied in its narrowest sense, offends the principle that water is a public good, a human right, and not simply an economic good.

Charges are effective and efficient means to finance aquatic ecosystem management (cost recovery) and reduce water use and pollution if the basic water needs of the poor are safeguarded, e.g. by means of block tariffs.

 Central government support through the creation and maintenance of an enabling environment. The role of central government in integrated catchment management should be one of leadership, aimed at facilitating and coordinating the development and transfer of skills, and assisting with the provision of technical advice and financial support, to local groups an individuals. Where specific areas of responsibility fall outside the mandate of a single government department, appropriate institutional arrangements are required to ensure effective inter-departmental collaboration.

 Traditional regimes and institutions should be recognised and integrated in aquatic ecosystem management

Adoption of the best existing technologies and practices - BMPs (best management practices).

Equitable allocation of water resources. This implies improved decision-making, which is technically and scientifically informed, and can facilitate the resolution of conflicts over contentious issues. There are existing tools (e.g. multi-criteria analysis) to help decision-making in terms of balancing social, ecological and economic considerations. These should be tested and applied.

The recognition of water as an economic good. The recognition of water as an economic good is central to achieving equitable allocation and sustainable usage. Water allocations should be optimized by benefit and cost, and aim to maximize water benefits to society per unit cost. For example, low value uses could be reallocated to higher value uses such as basic drinking water supplies, if water quality permits. Similarly, lower quality water can be allocated to agricultural or industrial use.

Strengthening the role of women in water management. Women’s participation in decision-making positively affects both project quality and sustainability.

 Floods not only cause suffering but also support life. Flood management should not be based solely on building dykes and dams. It needs to be based on strategies that use both structural and non-structural methods. The strategy should balance all interests involved and be based on an integrated assessment, of the environmental, economic and human costs and benefits of these alternatives, including their potential contribution to drought mitigation and including the possibilities that they offer for nature.  

 The ultimate goal of pollution control is to close substance cycles and in this way prevent pollution. A mix of instruments for regulation and compliance can be used to move into this direction and solve urgent pollution problems: waste control, process and emission standards, and a water quality approach. The exact mix should reflect inter-alia the local management capacity and the availability of water quality data and other data.

To support aquatic ecosystem management, a new analytical model should be developed that can aggregate socio-economic, political, institutional and technological potentials and hydrological constraints. This model should furthermore be capable of evaluating the actual management capacity.

To support strategic planning, methods for analytical support should be developed that:

ü      cover the whole basin and all significant impacts;

ü      specifically consider the socio-economic processes that affect the basin;

ü      predict the socio-economic effects of alternative strategies; and

ü      present the issues in such a way that people can understand them.

There is a large role for appropriate decentralised information systems and networks that can promote interaction among sectors, provide a basis for consistent technical studies, help communication with the public, and stimulate participation.

 To implement the general principles of the integrated aquatic ecosystem management requires a cyclic policy development approach. Such an approach would include the following steps - Assessment of institutions, needs and resources, planning, implementation, compliance monitoring and evaluation.

Members involved in formulating and finalising Lake 2002 Recommendations

Dr. Devashish Kar

Dr. Rajasekara Murthy

Dr. T.V. Ramachandra

Dr. S.N. Balasubramanyam

Dr. T. Ananda Rao

Dr. Madhyastha

Dr. H.S. Patil

Dr. K.Mohan

Dr. S.P. Hosmani

Dr. J. Pasupathi

Dr. B.K. Chakrapani

Dr. M.B. Krishna

Dr. Rajan Nair

Dr. S.A. Hussain

Dr. H.N. Chanakya

Dr. M.K. Ramesh

Dr. Yellappa Reddy

Mr. Vijay Kumar Gogi

Mr. S. Sridhar

Mr. Raushan Kumar

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 Email Your Suggestion and Comments To:

Dr. Ramachandra T.V.
Convener & Organising Secretary - Lake 2002 Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012
Telephone: 91-080-3600985 / 394 2506 (extn 215/232)
Telefax:91-080- 3601428/3600085/ 3600683 [CES TVR]

URL: http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy/Welcome.html
E mail: cestvr@ces.iisc.ernet.in
energy@ces.iisc.ernet.in
cestvr@hamsadvani.serc.iisc.ernet.in

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